Two Decimal Places
Roleplaying Log: Two Decimal Places
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Once again, Ulysses Arngrim finds himself in the unenviable position of having to ask Coulson about things which are or are not in various computers.

Other Characters Referenced: Emma Frost, Dani Moonstar, Tony Stark
IC Date: July 01, 2019
IC Location: Hidden SHIELD Base
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 02 Jul 2019 04:57
Rating & Warnings: G
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

If Agent Arngrim wants to find his boss today he'll have to look to his office. Phil has been sequestered in there for several days now. But then…Ulysses was there when he asked for the access that might help him figure out which Director is helping Hydra along. And scouring that information as carefully as he can, before someone figures out he has it, has been Priority #1 for him.

His office is as neat as it ever was, though barren. Every last one of his ancient, antique pieces of spy equipment or weapons are gone. In its place, a base that could easily have fit on that very desk. C'est la vie.

The only other thing of note is his Captain America coffee cup. Don't judge.

* * *

It's all too easy to lose track of time when you're really involved with your work. Ulysses has more often than not fallen into that pit, although his most recent case hadn't even been in the S.H.I.E.L.D. office.

At least it's not hard to track down Phil. There's a knock on the door before he pokes his head in. "Aaaagent Coulson? You in?" he asks, trying not to fidget with the slim laptop he carries under an arm. He can't help but notice the coffee, automatically wishing he had his own steaming mug in hand. Oh well.

* * *

"Of course," he says. He waves Ulysses to a seat and asks, "What can I do for you?"

The entry other younger Agent does, of course, cause him to shut down his work and close his laptop. Not necessarily because he's hiding it. In this case, it's because he tends to give people his full and complete attention when they come to him, and he's not about to break the habit now.

* * *

It never fails; every time he goes to the office of some higher-up he feels like he's been summoned by a school principal. Sinking into his seat, Ulysses offers Phil a smile that he hopes is casual but knows it probably comes off as awkward. Clearing his throat, he sets his laptop down at the desk's edge in front of him, rolling his shoulders back as he lets himself ease up a bit where he sits.

"Hey. Okay, so…where to begin." Fingers drum along each knee as he thinks, and one can practically imagine the gears turning in his head before he looks at Phil again. "So I'm not sure how aware you are of the matter of kidnapped metas recently, although I guess to be fair, nothing official had come across the lines until we were asked to bring in some guy from Kiev who was involved with the digital side of things…"

* * *

Coulson lifts his eyebrows and shakes his head. "This one hadn't come across my desk yet, but it seems like the kind of thing my XO is taking care of right now."

But he leans back, listening. Shifting in his posture to become incredibly casual, leaning his head back on the back of his seat, taking his ease. It's a move he at least hopes will put Ulysses at his own. Then again, nothing Coulson has ever said or done has been conducive to putting Ulysses at his ease from the day Coulson tapped him on the shoulder and dragged him into his plots.

But one does try as best as one can.

* * *

Maybe next time he should try a plate of chocolate chip cookies. Chocolate chip cookies are always welcoming.

"Yeah, well truth is I was kind of working on it beforehand, but that was before anyone realized there were more serious connections. And then one of the victims turns out to be pretty high profile, so I was asked to see what info I could pull up on them from our files."

Ulysses doesn't reach for his computer, but it's not particularly something he feels he needs at the moment, if at all. Mostly it's almost like a security blanket. Fingers drum up a silent beat across his knees again.

"Which is the weird part, because I actually um, couldn't find…anything."

* * *

"Hmm, that's strange," Coulson allows. "What is the name of this high profile victim?"

Nothing in his face or voice indicates that he knows one way or the other, of course, what Ulysses is talking about. He sits up though, concern briefly flickering in the furrow between his brows. He reaches for his coffee and takes a sip, waiting for the reply.

* * *

Ulysses nods. "It really is. You'd think we'd have everything about anyone on file- but then again I deal with digital tampering on a daily basis almost," he chuckles dryly. Wearily. They haven't found the inside person in S.H.I.E.L.D. yet, something he hasn't forgotten but it's things like this that are enough to push him to paranoia if not simple annoyance.

However after his talk with Tony he's started to wonder if it was something related or just something seen to by the missing victim herself.

The name. Right. He takes a deep breath, lets it go. "Emma Frost."

* * *

Usually, Phil Coulson is not one to broadcast his thoughts, feelings, or emotions. It's just part of the job. And there's no denying the bolt of real concern that darts across his face. He sits up and puts his coffee cup down slowly. This is someone he cares about, and deeply. His hazel eyes settle into hardness a second later, as does his jaw, but then he shakes it all off until no sign is left but his white knuckled grip around the coffee cup.

"Emma…" he says. Debating what to say. How to put it. At last…

"Emma has been of great help to SHIELD on multiple occasions. And the one thing she ever asked for in return was to remove her file completely from our systems. In this case, Fury is aware of the omission, and I'd like it if you didn't call any further attention to it since most of the others who might also notice such a thing are not people I'd trust with this information."

His jaw hardens again. "Whomever could have gotten their hands on her by any means is dangerous."

* * *

The reaction comes as a surprise to him, probably because Phil is usually unreacting. It's when he does, one figures things are really bad, and Ulysses has been the bearer of bad news to him how many times now?

The younger agent watches him, hesitant to say anything to prompt him, letting the other process as he will. He straightens up in his seat once Phil starts to speak more than just the woman's name.

"I—" Something else he wasn't meant to stumble across? Ulysses nods. "I won't. Haven't. Er. I heard about it from Agent Moonstar first, sir. And although I didn't mention her by name, I guess Tony Stark's also aware of the disappearance as well. I got to talk with him when I went to Metropolis to dig into those harddrives he confiscated from the hacker in Kiev. They've been specifically fishing for metas with mind and…possibly empathetic abilities."

* * *

Coulson drums his fingers on the desk. He looks tempted to leap right in. He really does. But he finally shakes his head. And when he does, he looks like he hates himself for it just a little bit. "If you three are on it, then it's in good hands. I can't add more skill than has already been added to that. But keep me posted, and if you three need resources I will make them happen."

But he leans forward now, and looks at Ulysses. Apparently his thoughts are running along similar lines, because he says, "I am starting to think I ought to give you a promotion, and bring you up to speed with everything I'm doing. You remind me of me when I was an analyst, before I entered field work. Except more effective."

* * *

Is that the answer he was expecting? Ulysses isn't really sure what he expected in all honesty. Thinking on it, he finally nods. "There's been others working different angles of this whole situation, but since none of it was organized, some efforts have accidentally been hindering others. At least now I'm on the same page with some people." A smile twitches into place again, faint but less awkward than his earlier one in greeting. "But thank you, sir. I'll let you know how things go and if we might need anything."

And then he stares at Phil, just barely managing to stop himself from saying something like 'but I just got a promotion—' "…sir?" he instead says, once he lets himself mull over those words.

* * *

Phil quirks a hint of a smile. "We can't keep meeting like this. With you tripping over things I've done and me making you doubt me by being unable to explain them. But…I'll have to run the idea by a person or two before I make any decisions. You're good at what you do, Agent Arngrim. I'd rather having us pulling the boat in the same direction than constantly spinning in circles. And…"

He waves his hand at his laptop in frustration. "You might get a lot further on what I'm doing than I am anyway."

* * *

Ulysses just quietly takes in what Phil's saying, finding himself nodding. "I'd very much like not having to doubt any more people than I have to, sir." That's more paranoia than he'd like to deal with.

He finds himself smiling again as he can't help but be proud of the compliment. A glance is flicked towards the laptop Phil gestures to before he nods again.

"Always happy to help, sir. I didn't agree to walk a potential cliff with you once before without reason. So if you need me to do anything, you know where to find me." Pause. "Mostly. I might be out of town for a while to follow up on things with the missing metas."

* * *

"Expense whatever you have to, you're now officially sanctioned to go," Phil says grimly. "It's all I can do for her right now. She's a friend. And she saved my sanity after…well. Just after."

A little more openess right now, it seems. Though he did already sort of give that one away. No sense hiding it or denying it now. "Make sure you're well armed and equipped, wherever you're off to. I'll sign off on whatever equipment you want, too. Well. Any equipment you want and can actually find in this relic."

Another wave of his hand, and a grimace. "I love history but this is maybe taking it a bridge too far."

* * *

That in itself explains more of the raw reaction that had managed to reach the face of Phil Coulson when the name of Emma Frost had been dropped. Ulysses nods dutifully. He's still not sure what the end goal is of all this, but it doesn't take several missing telepaths to figure it's probably bad news. The potential new compilation of a new list that Stark had suggested also hasn't slipped from his thoughts, another thing to worry about. He'd rather be tying up loose ends than finding new runs.

"If they're available, maybe an ICER pistol would be nice. The old building kind of ate my last one…" Hopefully he won't have to use it, but if so, he hopes he makes it more worthwhile than the day the Trike fell. He takes a moment, squeezing his eyes shut to stave off drifting recollections of seeing other agents die, killed by their own actions but not their own hand.

Forcing a laugh helps expel some of the tension threatening to build up. He tilts his head towards the laptop. "You know, sometimes you just need to step away for a little and come back to things with fresh eyes. Aaaand sometimes it doesn't always work and things are just a big headache in the end, but at least you remember that you're not glued to the screen."

* * *

Coulson pulls out his own and slides it across the desk to him. He doesn't anticipate needing it yet. The people he wants to shoot right now he wants to shoot to kill. And he doesn't anticipate getting out of the office much. He's pinned down here for the nonce, and he knows it. As he does, he offers a slight, weary smile.

"Is that 'do as I say, not as I do?' I think I've seen you glued quite a few times, once or twice."

But it's only a mild, gentle tease, not a criticism of any kind.

* * *

Blinking, Ulysses glances down at the weapon before looking back up at Phil as if to ask 'are you sure?' With the smile offered, he carefully picks the pistol up, letting it bounce with his hand lightly as he familiarizes himself with the weight of a gun in his hand again. He sets it beside his laptop with a quiet thanks.

Being called out for not taking his own advice all the time almost gets him to scowl. Instead, he offers a sagely nod. "Yes. It is. But when I am glued, I am in the zone."

* * *

"In the zone, is it?" Phil says, with another flicker of a smile. He waves his fingers at Ulysses and the weapon; once he decides to do a thing it's done, and he's already mentally written the gun out of his own inventory. His lips twitch again at the hacker's near-scowl, his hazel eyes twinkling with mischief.

"So that's different from being obsessed by at least two decimal places, then?"

His lips twitch again. It's that understated humor and amusement he often displays, even though he does not often yank chains quite like this.

* * *

"Hey, those decimal places are extremely important and can make a huge difference between propagating huge swaths of data from one place to another or making it all disappear," Ulysses protests, determined to defend his anthill or however that old saying goes. Now that he thinks about it it probably involved dying.

"Anyway," he says, coughing. "It's just a suggestion. I should probably get ready for the trip and all that. If there's anything else I can do for you, more advice that'll probably be ignored?" Though his brows lift, there's maybe the hint of a smirk in his expression. He's not nearly as good as Phil is.

* * *

Not yet, anyway.

"No, please. Go find my friend," Phil says quietly, all humor evaporating. And sure enough, he ignores the advice. He's already firing the laptop back up, ready to begin again. He does pause and pour himself a cup of coffee though, a second one. Because this constitutes taking Ulysses' advice. It's a break! Of sorts!

* * *

With another nod, Ulysses gets up and gathers the ICER and his laptop.

"Take care, sir," he says, hiding a smile as he turns towards the door, catching a glance of Phil as he powers up the laptop again. As far as meetings go, that hadn't been so bad. Progress definitely made, at least.

And at least one more end to tie off.

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